Overstock.com Becomes First Major Online Retailer to Accept Bitcoin
This week, Overstock.com became the first major retailer to accept Bitcoin for online purchases.
In December, Overstock.com CEO Patrick M. Byrne announced plans to begin accepting Bitcoin as payment in the second half of 2014. Obviously anxious to get the show on the road, less than a month later, the online retailer, which sells everything from electronics to jewelry to bedspreads, is open for Bitcoin business.
Overstock.com’s website lists the following as benefits to paying in Bitcoin:
- Ability to send and receive any amount of money instantly, anywhere, and at any time.
- Full control of your money. Bitcoin can be managed directly from your Bitcoin wallet.
- Full control of transactions. With Bitcoin, you control all your transactions. No one can process unwanted or unnoticed charges.
- Secure transactions. You are not required to provide sensitive or personal information with Bitcoin.
Still in the early adopter phase, the price of Bitcoin remains volatile. Overstock.com CEO Byrne explains, “There’s no risk for [Overstock.com]. We’re not holding [Bitcoin]. It’s not so much a bet on the value of Bitcoin and how it bounces around, it’s a bet that there’s a market there.”
The risks and rewards of Bitcoin market volatility will be assumed by Overstock.com partner Coinbase.com.
Coinbase is a Bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the new digital currency bitcoin. Boasting a $25 million investment from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, 771,000 consumer wallets, and 19,000 merchants, Coinbase is helping Overstock.com make Bitcoin accessible to the mainstream.
Coinbase fixes the exchange rate for each transaction and instantly converts the buyer’s bitcoins into dollars. Overstock never actually holds Bitcoin, at this stage.
— Overstock.com (@Overstock) January 9, 2014
Presently, Overstock.com only accepts Bitcoin as payment from within the United States, but on Twitter, has stated it’s intentions of going global. They’re well on their way, as only two hours after Overstock.com’s Twitter announcement, Byrne announced that about $10,000 worth of Bitcoin from about 100 purchasers had already been spent.